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79th Fighter Group
79th Fighter Group Insignia
Active 1942–1960
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Fighter; Air Defense
Part of 30th Air Division

The 79th Fighter Group (79 FG) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Air Defense Command 30th Air Division, being assigned to Youngstown Air Force Base, Ohio. It was inactivated on 1 March 1960.





  • Constituted as 79th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 Jan 1942
Activated on 9 Feb 1942
Redesignated 79th Fighter Group in May 1942.
Inactivated on 15 Jul 1947
  • Established as 502d Air Defense Group on 16 Feb 1953
  • Redesignated as 79th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 Jun 1955
Activated on 18 Aug 1955 by redesignation of 502d Air Defense Group
Inactivated on 1 Mar 1960


Attached to: Boston Fighter Wing, 1 Aug-28 Sep 1942

Operational units


Aircraft flown

Operational history

Constituted as 79th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 January 1942. Activated on 9 February 1942. Redesignated 79th Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to the Middle East, October–November 1942, and became part of Ninth AF.

Trained with P-40's while moving westward in the wake of the British drive across Egypt and Libya to Tunisia. Although many of the group's pilots flew combat missions with other organizations, the 79th group itself did not begin operations until March 1943. By escorting bombers, attacking enemy shipping, and supporting ground forces, the 79th took part in the Allied operations that defeated Axis forces in North Africa, captured Pantelleria, and conquered Sicily, the group being awarded a DUC for its support of British Eighth Army during that period, March–August 1943.

Assigned to Twelfth AF in August 1943 and continued to support British Eighth Army by attacking troop concentrations, gun positions, bridges, roads, and rail lines in southern Italy. Operated in the area of the Anzio beachhead, January–March 1944. Participated in the drive on Rome, March–June 1944, and converted to P-47's during that time. Flew escort and strafing missions in southern France during August and September 1944, and afterward engaged in interdictory and close support operations in northern Italy. Received second DUC for numerous missions flown at minimum altitude in intense flak to help pierce the enemy line at the Santerno River in Italy, April 16–20, 1945.

Remained overseas as part of United States Air Forces in Europe after the war as part of the occupation force. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in June 1947. Inactivated on 15 July 1947.

Assigned to Air Defense Command and redesignated 79th Fighter Group (Air Defense). Activated 18 August 1955 at Youngstown Mun Arpt, Ohio as result of ADC "Project Arrow" notable unit redesignation program. Provided air defense over eastern Ohio as part of 30th AD, Central Air Defense Force.

The Air Force transferred command of Youngstown AFB to Continental Air Command (ConAC) (now the Air Force Reserve Command) on 1 March 1960 and the 79th Fighter Group was inactivated that date.


  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Woerpel, Don. The 79th Fighter Group: Over Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0-76431-322-3.

External links


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